Cranial osteopathy is a form of osteopathic therapy. The technique involves gently applying pressure along the head and spine to release pressure.

It’s based on the idea that manipulating the bones and tissues of your skull can help improve improve a variety of health issues like cancer, cerebral palsy, and asthma.

Cranial osteopathy is performed by a doctor of osteopathic medicine. Another form of treatment called craniosacral therapy can be performed by anyone (most often with a certificate in craniosacral therapy) and requires no standardized training.

There’s little to no scientific evidence suggesting that cranial osteopathy or craniosacral therapy are effective treatment options. These techniques can also be dangerous for people with head injuries or babies with unfused skulls.

In this article, we’re going to examine the theory behind cranial osteopathy. We’ll also take a look at what research has found about this form of physical treatment to see whether it’s worth trying.

People who perform cranial therapies believe that they have the potential to balance obstructions in your nervous and immune systems.

They believe that through a series of physical manipulations, they can normalize the rhythm of your cerebrospinal fluid, which can allegedly cure a variety of disorders.

According to the practice, a trained therapist can unlock your cranial rhythm by gently moving the bones of your skull.

Some people believe that cranial osteopathy has the potential to cure diseases and conditions such as cancer, cerebral palsy, and seizures. However, there’s no evidence supporting any of these claims.

There’s also no scientific basis to the idea that the bones of the skull can be moved, since they fuse shortly after birth.

At this time, there are no clear benefits of cranial osteopathy. Most of the studies that have found benefits have either a high risk of bias or poor methodology.

A 2016 report requested by the French Physiotherapy Council recommended that French physiotherapists discontinue the use of cranial osteopathy. The report highlighted a lack of clear clinical evidence for the treatment.

An older 2011 review of studies looked at the effects of cranial osteopathy on pain, sleep, quality of life, motor function, and nervous system function. The researchers concluded that there isn’t enough evidence to support the use of cranial osteopathy for any of these.

A 2016 review of studies looked at the results of 14 previous studies examining the effectiveness of cranial osteopathy. The researchers found that two studies were at high risk of bias, nine had “major doubt” in regard to bias, and three had low risk of bias. They concluded that quality studies supporting the benefits of cranial osteopathy are nearly nonexistent.

One study published in 2013 looked at the effect of cranial osteopathy on pelvic girdle pain in pregnant women as compared to standard treatments. The researchers measured morning pain, evening pain, and days of sick leave.

The researchers found a significant decrease in morning pain. However, they added that the treatment effect was small and clinically questionable. As the 2016 review points out, even though pain improved statistically, it was due primarily to pain increasing in the control group.

Cranial osteopathy for babies

Some people think that cranial osteopathy may help babies heal from the lingering stress of childbirth. However, research doesn’t support the use of this type of therapy for babies.

Some people also think that it may help treat head deformities, colic, or issues involving breastfeeding. Again, there’s no scientific evidence to suggest that cranial osteopathy is an effective treatment option.

A 2012 review examined the effects of cranial osteopathy among babies with infantile colic. The researchers noted that most studies found parents reported fewer crying hours after their children received cranial osteopathy.

However, they concluded that many of the studies were prone to bias and had small sample sizes.

If your baby is experiencing any medical issues, it’s a good idea to take them to a pediatrician immediately.

Cranial osteopathy for adults

There are no studies that prove that cranial osteopathy is effective for treating migraine, tinnitus, or any other conditions in adults. However, some people may find the treatment relaxing.

Cranial osteopathy is performed by a doctor who specializes in osteopathic medicine. It’s generally considered safe when performed by a licensed professional. However, craniosacral therapy isn’t usually performed by a doctor.

Cranial therapies can be potentially dangerous if not performed properly, especially on babies with unfused bones. It may be a better idea to visit a pediatrician for any medical conditions affecting your baby.

Overall, there’s not enough evidence to support the use of cranial osteopathy for any medical condition. Undergoing cranial osteopathy is potentially dangerous if you have a head injury or if it’s performed on a baby with an unformed skull.

Instead of undergoing cranial osteopathy, it may be a better idea to visit a medical expert specializing in your condition. Babies and children should visit licensed pediatricians.